As of year-end 2017, the MSPB governing board had a backlog of about 750 cases “and the number of cases grows each week” because only one seat on the three-member board has been filled since last January, the MSPB has said.
“This is the largest inventory of cases at headquarters awaiting member action in our history. It constitutes the largest number of cases awaiting action at the start of the future Board members’ service,” it said. “These cases include regular petitions for review and other cases such as enforcement cases, requests for review of regulations of the Office of Personnel Management, and original jurisdiction cases.”
In its latest annual report, covering fiscal 2017, the MSPB said the board issued 207 decisions in the three months of the fiscal year while the board still had two members. No nominees have been named to fill the other two seats and the term of the sole incumbent is due to expire in March, although that could be extended.
Hearing officers continue to issue decisions, but in addition to inability to hear appeals of those decisions, the lack of a quorum is having additional impacts, it said. For example, there are two reports finished but needing approval of two members before they can be issued,
“Although the biggest challenge MSPB faces currently is the lack of a quorum, MSPB also must be prepared to face external factors such as changes in law and jurisdiction, and Governmentwide reorganization leading to budget and workforce reductions. These changes could impact our appeals workload, and emphasize the need for a strong merit systems studies program. We also have internal challenges including the number of employees eligible to retire and the need to improve and modernize our information technology and information services functions,” it said.